Friday, April 06, 2007

Middle-aged women at play in the fields of technology

Hi Marsha--you should go to our other blog. Kathy's posted a poem. You need to post, and then we need to make a decision about password protection.

Hi, whoever else is out there. We're in the middle of an experiment with creating a virtual workshop on another blog. But it's moving! We're rolling! We're middle-aged women at play in the fields of technology!

I can't believe I once told my father (who worked for IBM and was part of the big team there that developed and built their first microchip) that I would never use a computer. Because you couldn't take a computer out in a field to write a poem. That was about 1983 or '84 or so.

Back even further, say the mid-70s, we used to go with my dad to IBM family day and see THE computer. Which was in a giant room and was quite large, kind of like the fake computers you'd see in 1950s science fiction movies. Oooh! Aaaah! The computer was like a large reptile behind glass. A large, stationary reptile that glittered and blinked and parts of it spun. But it was like an iguana in the sun. It just sat there. And paper spooled out.

Dad used to bring home the used punch cards for scrap paper--weird little patterns with square or rectangular holes, kind of a precursor to the famed hanging chads of the 2000 election.

I was one of the first kids at Midd to have a personal computer in my dorm room. My dad could get them at his corporate discount rate. I had the ill-fated PC, Jr. My parents sent me to college with a typewriter (a portable typewriter--anybody remember the difference?). When we moved to this house in 2002, I finally threw it away. It was a Smith-Corona and nobody made the cartridges anymore. I didn't tell my Dad or brother Peter because they save everything. They would have said to me, 'but you won't have anything to show your kids later.' Perhaps they were right.

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